Moulton coming under fire for Pelosi stance
US Rep. Seth Moulton is taking heat locally and in Washington for his opposition to Nancy Pelosi as the next House speaker, but his biggest problem seems to be the lack of a candidate to run against her.
Sixteen House Democrats, including Moulton and Rep. Stephen Lynch from Massachusetts, signed a letter on Monday saying it’s time for a change at the top when the Democrats take control of the House in January. The letter didn’t say what the signees would do if no one emerges to run against the 78-year-old Pelosi, who has led Democrats in the House since 2007. (She was speaker from 2007 to 2011.)
The stakes are high. Pelosi is expected to need 218 votes to become the next speaker. Democrats are expected to hold 232 seats in the new Congress, so the 16 in opposition could potentially block her. Pelosi is confident she will win, in part because she is skilled at political maneuvering and also because no one has stepped forward to challenge her.
Still, Pelosi’s backers are not taking anything for granted. They are bad mouthing Moulton in Washington (#fivewhiteguys is a popular hashtag dismissing his challenge), with some suggesting they may even back a candidate against him in two years. Pelosi supporters also showed up in force at a constituent meeting Moulton had in Amesbury Monday night. Many of the pro-Pelosi folks held signs saying “I Stand with Nancy” and many booed when Moulton said a majority of Democrats feel it’s time for change.
Isa Leshko, who organized an effort to flood Moulton’s Monday town hall with pro-Pelosi protesters, said she was “loving Seth Moulton” until recently. “The fact that he is dividing us at a time when we have this resounding blue wave, I just can’t support him,” she told the Globe.
Moulton didn’t back down. “In this last election, we elected an extraordinary group of new leaders,” Moulton said, according to the Salem News, which reported that many of those in attendance were not from the congressman’s district. “More women than ever before, more veterans than in recent memory, more LGBT candidates, more people of color. The American people cried out for change in this election. Everywhere I went, the American people said, ‘We want change. What is going on in Washington isn’t working and we need a new generation of leadership.’ I think, if our party answers that call for change that we have heard across the country by reinstalling the same status quo leadership team that we have had in place since 2006, then we are failing the American people.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose victory over a Democratic incumbent in a New York primary signaled change was in the air this fall, doesn’t sound like she is convinced change is need at the top of the House. “When I was reading this letter that was kind of released today, my main concern was that there is no vision, there is no common value, there is no goal that is really articulated in this letter aside from we need to change,” she told MSNBC.
She also warned that ousting Pelosi could set the stage for more conservative leadership. “I mean, if anything, I think that what it does that it creates a window where we could potentially get more conservative leadership and when you actually look at the signatories, it is not necessarily reflective of the diversity of the party,” the Congresswoman-elect said.
Ayanna Pressley, a change-agent who defeated incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts Democratic primary, hasn’t said where she stands on the speaker fight.
Meanwhile, Globe columnist Joan Vennocchi is thanking Moulton for shaking things up and conservative-leaning newspapers in his district are backing him. “Time will tell who’s right,” said an editorial in the Gloucester Times. “In the meantime, those seeking to rip down Moulton by suggesting his campaign is motivated by political opportunism or gender bias should put the ad hominem attacks to rest.”
A Lowell Sun editorial took a similar stance. “Stand your ground, Seth, and get real Democrats to see the future rather than wallowing in the past,” it said.
A Berkshire Eagle editorial applauds the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s decision to hire a debt collector and launch a long overdue crack down on deadbeat renters of state land.
Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund has shut off water and sewer services for any future development at the former naval air base in South Weymouth until LStar, the troubled company overseeing the redevelopment, severs ties with its former CEO and shows it can move forward with the stalled project. (Patriot Ledger)
A subcommittee of the Springfield City Council recommends a $20,000 pay hike for the mayor and a $5,500 increase for councilors. (MassLive) City councilors in Methuen are considering more than doubling their annual stipend. With health insurance costs deducted, one councilor said he makes almost nothing. (Eagle-Tribune)
Nearly 200 guns and rifles were turned in at churches in Fall River and New Bedford as part of a Guns for Groceries buyback program, that also offered pizza gift certificates to those turning in a pellet or BB gun. (Herald News)
“But her emails…“ First daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump, whose father made Hillary Clinton’s private server a central campaign issue, used personal accounts to send email regarding government business. (Washington Post)
Attorney General Maura Healey has sued or taken part in 36 lawsuits against the Trump administration so far. (Boston Herald)
An odd Boston Herald editorial ticks off the findings of an Associated Press report that 8 of the top 10 spending political action committees in the state in the run-up to this month’s election were labor unions, but it doesn’t really offer any editorial comment.
Lede of the day, dateline Leicester: “Forget Black Friday. Today is Toke Tuesday.” (Boston Herald) In a reversal of his past position, US Rep. Joe Kennedy pens an op-ed calling for federal legalization of marijuana. (STAT)
The US Treasury Department will be giving added scrutiny to all-cash real estate purchases in the Boston area in an effort to clamp down on money laundering. (Boston Globe)
Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of car manufacturer Nissan, was arrested and charged by Japanese officials with financial misconduct by underreporting his compensation by millions of dollars a year, a stunning fall for the head of the world’s biggest car-making company. (New York Times)
A sell-off of tech stocks and a drop in shares in the automobile sector on Monday wiped out all gains the stock market made in November. (Wall Street Journal) Boston has not yet felt the tech sector tremors — but it could. (Boston Globe)
MassBay Community College has suspended admissions to its nursing program after an evaluation by the state Board of Nursing Registration identified areas to be fixed, though school officials don’t know what those issues are because they haven’t seen a report, expected sometime next month. (MetroWest Daily News)
About 100 Boston Public Schools students walked out of classes and descended on the mayor’s office in City Hall to protest planned school closures and gun violence in the city. (Boston Globe)
A report from the state auditor’s office turns up more questionable spending by the Helen Y. Davis charter school in Dorchester. (Boston Globe)
A national survey finds that more than one-third of parents will not vaccinate their children against the flu this season, with may saying they base their decisions on what they hear from friends or see on the internet rather than what the doctor recommends. (U.S. News & World Report)
A Silicon Valley data analytics firm and German drug maker Merck are forming a joint venture in Boston that will use data analytics tools in cancer research. (Boston Globe)
Former governors Michael Dukakis and William Weld dismiss a report on the North-South Rail Link by the Department of Transportation and urge officials to get on board. (CommonWealth)
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, in a presentation to state transportation officials, projects the state’s population will grow by 13 percent by 2040, with growth coming in and around Boston while the western part of the state and the Cape will see a decline. (CommonWealth)
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack outlined three new studies, one on East-West rail, one on the design of new bus service, and one for a transit action plan in Lynn. (State House News)
Offshore wind in the United States may be on the verge of taking off. (Governing)
The EPA has awarded a grant to a private environmental advocacy venture to refit a tugboat based in New Bedford in a move that city and federal officials say will remove 5.5 tons of pollution from the city’s air annually and pave the way for other boats to have similar changes. (Standard-Times)
A Nevada judge has temporarily blocked the state gambling commission from releasing its findings concerning sexual misconduct allegations against Steve Wynn. (Boston Globe)
A Rhode Island judge dismissed misdemeanor charges against a convicted rapist from Weymouth who was forced to settle in the state under terms of his probation. The judge said the charges of falsely using his parents’ address in Weymouth on a marriage certificate would not have been brought against anyone else but officials targeted him because of his status that would have returned him to jail had he been convicted. (Providence Journal)
Ousted WEEI host Kirk Minihane said he parted ways with the station after Entercom officials asked him to sign a document that he said would have forced him to avoid certain subjects. He also expressed frustration with Boston Globe interim editorial page editor Shirley Leung, who wrote a column praising WEEI’s decision to remove the one-time top-rated host. (Greater Boston)
The Boston Globe seeks a contact high from the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts. (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Vox explains the new rules for press conferences issued by the White House, saying they could have a “chilling” effect on efforts to hold the administration accountable.
Diversity in US newsrooms seems to be improving only slightly. (Poynter)PASSINGS
Renowned Martha’s Vineyard photographer Peter Simon, younger brother of singer Carly Simon and whose pictures have appeared in publications and on calendars around the world, has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 71. (Cape Cod Times)